peppered moth


: a European geometrid moth (Biston betularia) that typically has white wings with small black specks but also occurs as a solid black form especially in areas where the air is heavily polluted by industry

Examples of peppered moth in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Their conclusions are backed up by other studies of evolution, such as in Darwin's finches, or the peppered moth. Nathaniel Scharping, Discover Magazine, 22 Feb. 2018 In 1848, a Manchester lepidopterist called R.L. Edleston caught a rare variety of the peppered moth, normally a pale, delicately ornamented creature. Cal Flyn, WSJ, 3 June 2021 After the Clean Air Acts of 1956 and 1968 were passed in the U.K., air quality improved, and the peppered moth slowly reverted to its paler form. Cal Flyn, WSJ, 3 June 2021 Evolutionary biologist’s posthumous publication restores peppered moth to iconic status as textbook example of evolution Ink Wants to Form Neurons, and an Artful Scientist Obliges Dinosaur tracks? Ed Yong, Discover Magazine, 5 May 2012 The peppered moth is a poster species for evolution by natural selection. Carl Engelking, Discover Magazine, 1 June 2016 Scientists have finally pinpointed the genetic mutation that made the peppered moth a Biology 101 fixture. Carl Engelking, Discover Magazine, 14 Dec. 2016 The peppered moth and the final experiment of Michael Majerus America to collide with Asia... Ed Yong, Discover Magazine, 18 Feb. 2012 Until recently, the most famous example of rapid evolution was the story of the peppered moth. Vaughn Cooper, Quartz, 10 Sep. 2021 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'peppered moth.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1766, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of peppered moth was in 1766

Dictionary Entries Near peppered moth

Cite this Entry

“Peppered moth.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition

peppered moth

: a European moth that normally has white wings with small black specks but often has black wings in areas with heavy air pollution

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